Fatburger is moving into India for the first time with a menu that will not include beef.
Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Fatburger earlier this month inked a 25-unit deal with VAZZ Foods Private Limited, a food and beverage distributor, and owner Vikramjit Singh to bring the burger brand into Northern India.
VAZZ Foods will also later grow the brand in the southwest region of India with another 25 restaurants within the next five years, said Andy Wiederhorn, Fatburger’s chief executive.
Because cows are venerated in parts of India and many people do not eat beef, Wiederhorn said the menu will adapt to local preferences, offering a full line of chicken, turkey and veggie burger options, as well as a new lamb burger in Northern India.
Wiederhorn said the potential for the brand in India is “mind blowing” as the disposable income of consumers in the densely populated region is expected to grow exponentially in coming years. “We want to establish ourselves as a premium burger brand now, rather than wait to see what’s coming,” he said.
Fatburger has been pushing overseas growth. The chain operates in 27 countries, and this weekend it will open a first unit in Cairo, Egypt. A first unit in Lahore, Pakistan, is scheduled to open on May 31.
India has become a hot growth target for other restaurant companies as well.
Aliso Viejo-Calif.-based Johnny Rockets announced a move into India earlier this year. Others growing in the region include Rita’s Italian Ice, Pinkberry, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Yum! Brands Inc. with its Pizza Hut and KFC brands.
Both Subway and McDonald’s have also been growing vegetarian-only units in India in recent years.